PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (5): 982-997.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2023.05.012

• Reviews • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The research of administrative division of China in the past 30 years: Progress, implications, and prospect

MENG Gui1,2(), WANG Kaiyong1,2,*(), WANG Fuyuan1, DONG Yaojia1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-11-10 Revised:2022-12-31 Online:2023-05-28 Published:2023-05-24
  • Contact: WANG Kaiyong;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42271252);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42230510);National Social Science Foundation for Social Science Academic Societies Theme-based Academic Activities Funding Project(22STA021)


Administrative division is the basic supporting unit for a country to carry out local governance. The adjustment of administrative divisions is related to the grassroots social governance system and capacity building, and constitutes a part of the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, which has a long-term impact on economic development and regional governance. This article systematically reviewed and analyzed the literature on China's administrative division research in the past 30 years, and summarized the development status of China's administrative division research from the aspects of history, type of models, effectiveness evaluation, influencing factors, and comparison within China and internationally. The research found that the setting of administrative divisions serves the national development strategy, and the research is closely related to national policies. The promulgation and implementation of relevant policies stimulate the research of administrative divisions, and vice versa. The study of administrative division has a strong historical continuity and spans multiple disciplines. Drawing on the useful experience of developed countries, it also has very strong local characteristics. In the process of integration of administrative divisions into national governance system and governance modernization, scientific and practical research on the setting and adjustment of administrative divisions should be strengthened. We should give full play to the advantages of multiple disciplines, strengthen the theoretical and methodological research on the setting and adjustment of administrative divisions, and comprehensively improve the effectiveness of national spatial governance.

Key words: administrative division, governance, effectiveness evaluation, research progress, bibliometric